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Physics IGCSE

Physics IGCSE

Course Length

One or two years.

The course

Physics is the study of why and how things work. In physics, the structure and motion of the material world is analysed in terms of fundamental laws, which allow its behaviour to be predicted. In this course students will be exploring many areas of physics, from mechanics to telecommunications, and there will be many opportunities to do practical work. Students are encouraged to ask questions and participate in class discussion in order to extend their understanding of the subject.

The IGCSE builds a strong foundation for A level study. The IGCSE course has eight sections. In Section 1 (Forces and motion), you will look at the basic concepts of movement, position, forces, movement, shape and momentum. Section 2 (Electricity) looks at mains electricity, energy and potential difference in circuits, and electric charge. In Section 3 (Waves), you will look at the properties of waves, the electromagnetic spectrum, and light and sound. In Section 4 (Energy resources and energy transfers), you will look at the concepts of energy transfer, work and power, and energy resources and electricity generation. Section 5 (Solids, liquids and gases) looks at the concepts of density and pressure, changes of state, and ideal gas molecules.

In Section 6 (Magnetism and electromagnetism), you will look at magnetism, electromagnetism, and electromagnetic induction. In Section 7 (Radioactivity and particles), you will look at the basic ideas behind radioactivity, and finally in Section 8 (Astrophysics) you will study stars and galaxies and how they evolve and move as well as looking into the evidence for the Big Bang and the expansion of the Universe.

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What skills do I need?

An ideal physicist would need to be very inquisitive about the world and how it works, as well as having an enthusiasm for mathematics and the ability to understand and use precise technical terms. An interest in performing practical work will help you throughout the course, as would being able to understand and produce simplified diagrams of complex ideas.

How is the course assessed?

There are two externally-assessed papers. Each paper covers all topics in the syllabus. Approximately 40% of each paper tests students’ knowledge and understanding (eg recalling concepts); 40% of questions test students’ application of knowledge and understanding, analysis and evaluation (eg explaining results in unfamiliar contexts). There is no coursework or practical exam, but 20% of both papers test investigative skills, which are learnt by performing experiments throughout the course. Paper 1 (Unit 1) lasts 2 hours and is worth 61.1% of the total marks. Paper 2 (Unit 2) lasts 1 hour 15 minutes and is worth 38.9% of the total marks.


Edexcel International GCSE (9-1) Physics Student Book
By B. Arnold, P. Johnson and S Woolley
Published by Pearson, ISBN 978-0-435-18527-5

Exam Board and Specification Code

Pearson-Edexcel 4PH1

Antonio Torrisi
Head of Department

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